Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)

ebook Why We Justify Foolish Beliefs, Bad Decisions, and Hurtful Acts

By Carol Tavris

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A NEW EDITION UPDATED IN 2020 Why is it so hard to say "I made a mistake" and really believe it?
When we make mistakes, cling to outdated attitudes, or mistreat other people, we must calm the cognitive dissonance that jars our feelings of self-worth. And so, unconsciously, we create fictions that absolve us of responsibility, restoring our belief that we are smart, moral, and right—a belief that often keeps us on a course that is dumb, immoral, and wrong. Backed by decades of research, Mistakes Were Made (But Not by Me) offers a fascinating explanation of self-justification—how it works, the damage it can cause, and how we can overcome it. Extensively updated, this third edition has many recent and revealing examples, including the application of dissonance theory to divisive social issues such as the Black Lives Matter movement and he said/she said claims. It also features a new chapter that illuminates how cognitive dissonance is playing a role in the currently polarized political scene, changing the nation's values and putting democracy itself at risk.
"Every page sparkles with sharp insight and keen observation. Mistakes were made—but not in this book!" —Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
"A revelatory study of how lovers, lawyers, doctors, politicians—and all of us—pull the wool over our own eyes . . . Reading it, we recognize the behavior of our leaders, our loved ones, and—if we're honest—ourselves, and some of the more perplexing mysteries of human nature begin to seem a little clearer." —Francine Prose, O, The Oprah Magazine

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Mistakes Were Made (but Not by Me)